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Organizers of Debian are taking too long too approve new contributors and are threatening the future of the project according to some working on the open source initiative.

Many Debian members are using the Planet Debian forum to express their dismay at delays of more than four months in approving new developers. The last new developer was approved in November 2007.

The furore was sparked by Debian committer Lucas Nussbaum who criticized the apparent lack of urgency. He pointed out that 18 individuals had passed through Debian's convoluted approval process four month's ago but were still waiting for their developer accounts to be set up.

Nussbaum said the delay was putting people off wanting to be involved in future development of the GNU/Linux-based operating system. Most commenters on his blog agreed that the delays were unhelpful.

The problem lies in what some see as an overly rigorous vetting process for admitting new members to Debian. Coupled with the voluntary nature of the project and limits on individual member's availability, this inevitably means there is a long waiting period for new developers to be fully approved.

Recently elected Debian project leader Steve McIntyre noted in his election platform that the new member acceptance process was "rather simpler" when he joined the project in 1996 and vowed to improve project communication.

McIntyre has yet to respond to our email requests for clarification on the situation.®

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